Community-Driven Growth

Building community creates a unique bond of trust and loyalty between a product, employees, and users. Nurturing and growing that trust has helped create many of the most viral and fastest-growing startups in the world. But that trust can easily dissipate if not properly respected.

We sit down with 3 leaders who’ve built the early communities at Yelp, HER, and Tastemade to teach us how to build loyal communities and how not to mess them up.

Watch the Full Recording Here:


  • 6:52 – Shana defines community and different ways to find things in common
  • 8:16 – Shana sharing top tips for launching a community
  • 12:13 – Nish shares about his Yelp Experience and how they built their community
  • 14:20 – Stephanie adds on her experience at Yelp and calls it the “Harvard of startups”
  • 16:40 – Shana shares when is a good time to invest in building your community
  • 19:38 – Stephnie shares on how you need the tools in order to make community work. Also, not every business needs one.
  • 21:18 – Shana shares her wishlist items as Head of Community at HER
  • 23:23 – Shana shares her take on how moderators could look like in a community
  • 25:56 – Nish speaks on how to prevent your community members become anonymous once the community grows
  • 31:08 – Nish focuses on interacting with your community
  • 33:40 – Shana speaks on how community moderation is key since the beginning of your community building
  • 35:54 – Stephanie shares her take on the importance of moderation. “Community needs structure”
  • 37:10 – Nish shares ways to can create magic in your community in the virtual space
  • 43:28 – Shana speaks on The Space Model framework and which metrics are tracked in HER app
  • 50:20 – Nish shares advice on getting to know your community


Shana Sumers, Head of Community at HER app – Shana is a black, queer woman who is the Senior Manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging Communities at HubSpot.

Shana has had the opportunity to speak on multiple panels (as panelist and moderator), podcasts, private events and stages as both a speaker and keynote speaker. In her free time, you will find Shana running around a sports field, exploring new restaurants or getting tickets to the latest Beyoncé concert (Once we are able to be social again!). For now, she is catching up on her favorite shows, attending virtual concerts and lots and lots of Facetime.

Stephanie Hughes, Former Head of Community at Tastemade – Stephanie is a Community Vanguard for startups. Currently she is working on building out my own company: The Femps (aka The Female Empowerment Society). They bring amazingly talented women together for professional networking and passion project exploration. Stay tuned for updates!

Prior to this, she’s run community for Tastemade, Need, Kekanto and handled the editorial/community reins for Loopt (acquired by GreenDot in 2012). But all of this community madness and mischief started back in 2006 at a little site you may have heard of called Yelp.

Nish Nadaraja, Brand Consultant and Advisor – Nish works on all aspects of the marketing puzzle (from high-level strategy to content creation to grassroots buzz marketing initiatives). His favorite areas, though, are community, brand evangelism, and customer loyalty.

While a lot of people know him from his work at Yelp, he learned a lot about influencer and lifestyle marketing from his time at Ammo Marketing.

He continues to advise and consult on projects big and small, primarily in San Francisco, but have debated going back to full-time on occasion. Currently, he is acting as the interim head of brand and marketing for a wine company that is just coming to market. He is also involved in a few restaurants in San Francisco (Foreign Cinema, Noosh, Padrecito, Schroeders), and just might open his own one day.

Host: Anish Shah, Founder + CEO at Ruckus – Anish is the CEO & Founder of executive search agency Ruckus. Anish has worked in-house in Growth roles at Snapfish and Getable. He started Bring Ruckus as a Growth consultancy 11 years ago working with 40+ clients, then re-focused his firm on executive recruiting for Growth leaders.

Like this post? Share it on social

Never miss a post! Sign up for email notifications.